Mustafizur leads Bangladesh to thrilling victory
Pacer Mustafizur Rahman bowled impeccably to claim 4-44 in his comeback match as Bangladesh overcame an Ireland scare to secure a thrilling four-run victory in the third and final ODI to take the series 2-0 at County Ground in Chelmsford, England on Sunday.
The first game was washed out before Bangladesh win the rain-hit second ODI by three wickets.
Put into bat first, Bangladesh were bowled out for 274 in 48.5 overs but held nerve to defend it, restricting Ireland to 270-9. By doing so, Bangladesh kept its record intact of not losing any ODI game to the Irish since 2010.
But Ireland were again close to the victory, thanks to its resounding batting of the top order with Paul Striling leading the way with 60. Captain Andrew Balbirnie made 53 and Lorcan Tucker scored 50. Harry Tector who hit a century in the previous game added 45.
Mustafizur broke through with the wicket of Stephen Doheny but Stirling and Balbrinie combined for 109-run for the second wicket that genuinely kept Ireland’s hope to get a victory finally.
Fast bowler Ebadot Hossain had Balbirnie caught by Rony Talukder to end the dangerous partnership before Mehidy Hasan Miraz claimed the wicket of Stirling who struck four fours and two sixes in his knock.
Harry Tector and Lorcan Tucker further resisted, adding 79-run for the fourth wicket as Ireland further appeared to close in on victory.
Najmul Hossain Shanto’s occasional spin accounted Tector to give Bangladesh a crucial breakthrough and then Mustafizur got into act.
As Ireland were on course of the victory, Mustafizur who was overlooked in the first two matches, claimed three wickets in his next three overs at a stretch to rock the Ireland batting line up.
Ireland never recovered from that collapse as they fell agonizingly short. Hasan Mahmud grabbed 2-44 to play a perfect foil to Mustafizur.
Earlier skipper Tamim Iqbal finally hit a half-century after nine matches as Bangladesh posted a total not looked daunting.
Bangladesh were on course of a 300 plus total but tasted a sensational collapse that saw them losing five wickets for 13 runs toward the end to be wrapped up with seven balls still to play.
Tamim who survived on just 1 after his opposite number Andrew Balbirnie put down a regulation catch at second slip off fast bowler Jos Little in the third over of finally made 69 off 82, hitting six fours.
Most of the Bangladeshi batters found their but simply failed to capitalize, a reason that resisted their chance to go past 300-run mark.
Mushfiqur Rahim made 45 off 54 with three fours and one six while Najmul Hossain Shanto, the centurion of the previous game and Liton Das who moved down to No.4 position scored identical 35 runs. Mehidy Hasan Miraz added 37.
Mark Adair was the most successful Irish bowler with 4-40 while George Dockrell and Andy McBrine claimed two wickets apiece.
Rony Talukdar, one of the two debutants for Bangladesh alongside Mrittunjoy Chowdhory had a forgettable start to his ODI career as he replaced Liton in opening position with Tamim after the Tigers were asked to bat first.
After a shaky start, he opened his account with a boundary in the 12th ball he faced but a rash shot saw him being dismissed just two balls later.
Fresh from his maiden century, Shanto started with some confident shots before Craig Young, the only change for Ireland, dismissed him, caught by Balbirnie at slip.
Tamim and Liton Das combined for a 70-run partnership for the fourth wicket to lay a platform, but failed to make it bigger as Andy McBrine struck to have him caught by Adair at mid-off.
George Dockrell gave the side a double delight, removing Towhid Hridoy (13) and Tamim Iqbal in quick succession to bring the side back into the contest.
With Bangladesh at 186-5, it looked all gloomy but Mushfiqur and Miraz added 77-run for the sixth wicket to raise a prospect of 300 plus total.
However McBrine broke through again with the wicket of Mushfiqur and then Adair did the rest, running through the innings in impeccable fashion as Bangladesh lost last five wickets for just 13 runs.